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Sunday, December 19th 2010

10:24 AM

Nook Color

I don't know if I'm a gadget freak or not. When I started ePublishing back in the dark ages of the industry, I bought an outdated Palm III, which worked surprisingly well as an eReading device. Although its small screen could only hold a paragraph or two, my brain quickly adjusted to the size and I was able to read comfortably. It did take me about one book to get used to it, though.

A few years ago, my friend and author Christina O'Donnelly sent me an eBookWise for Christmas which was a great gift and much enjoyed. The larger format made for something a bit more like the experience of reading a page and I enjoyed the fact that the eBookWise was back-lit, meaning that I could read it in bed after Karen had fallen asleep (she gets grumpy when I turn the light on). Unfortunately, I ran my desk chair over the eBookWise USB cord a few too many times and I'm now unable to reload it. I'm going to break down and invest in a new cord (it doesn't use the standard format USB although I understand it is something one can purchase...maybe my next trip to Radio Shack).

Increasingly, in 2010, though, my customers were asking questions about reading on their Kindles and I decided I needed to go the Kindle route. Naturally I bought a month or so before the $100-plus price reduction but got a wonderful Kindle-2 (the Kindle-3s now out are supposed to be much better as well as cheaper). The only problem with the Kindle is that Karen, who's been intrigued by eBooks but not really interested in reading that way, abruptly became a convert. Since she'd actually bought the Kindle, she gets first dibs. If I'd been just an ordinary reader, I would have bought another Kindle as I'm very happy with this technology and I struggled with the Nook the time I went to Barnes and Noble to check it out. But I really thought it would be a good idea to have a Nook as well as the Kindle because many of my customers are Nook owners, so I broke down and bought the Color Nook as my Christmas present to myself. ("Merry Christmas, Rob." "Thanks, it's what I've always wanted.") I spent yesterday playing with my new toy and I like it a lot. I'll give you some pros and cons (compared to the Kindle).

Pros: It's a beautiful screen with far superior web browsing capabilities. It's back-lit, which means I can read in bed again. It supports an external memory card which means easier file transfer and more books (something useful to anyone reading lots of submissions). It's color, which isn't especially important for most books but might be useful for some. I haven't tried the BN exclusive features (free reading in BN stores, etc.) but I'm looking forward to these. The internet capabilities are good enough that I won't need to haul a laptop along when I travel, which is nice.

Cons: I find the Kindle's store easier to use and it's much easier to find free books for Kindle (top 100 free). I've read a number of classics (e.g., Dracula) I've always wanted to read but never gotten around to. The battery life isn't as good. Outdoor readability isn't as good. The Kindle whispernet works anywhere but the color Nook only networks with wi-fi. The Kindle is also much lighter, although the color Nook is light enough to be usable as a reader. Although the Kindle's web browser is not very good, it is good enough for emergency use (e.g., checking for any customer questions while traveling) and, as I said, because it uses Whispernet, I don't need to find a Wi-Fi hot spot. It is a lot more expensive than the Kindle or black-and-white Nook. Battery life is better on the electronic paper devices than the backlit screen.

Frankly, I don't think you can go wrong with either of these devices. I'm thinking that at least now I'm in a fair position to trade with Karen.

Time is running out to buy THE ELF-QUEEN'S BOUNTY for a buck. Tuesday evening, the price goes up to $3.99. Here's the link: http://www.booksforabuck.com/sfpages/sf_10/elf-queen.html. Here's the cover:



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